Senators Hirono, Gillibrand, Booker Unveil Legislation to Significantly Increase Federal Investment in Programs to Alleviate Homelessness and Housing Poverty
According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act would effectively end homelessness and housing poverty in the United States
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced legislation that lays out a 10-year investment in federal housing and homelessness programs that the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimates would effectively end homelessness and housing poverty in the United States.
The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act would provide a long-term, dependable level of investment in four federal housing programs that have proven successful in combating homelessness and housing poverty across the country – Emergency Solutions Grants, Continuum of Care Grants, the Housing Trust Fund, and tenant-based rental assistance.
“Communities and service providers in Hawaii and across the country do the best they can with the resources they have to help our neighbors in need. However, federal dollars simply don't go far enough. At the same time, too many workers and families struggle to get and keep affordable rental housing,” Senator Hirono said. “The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act rejects the divisive policies of the Trump Administration, and lays out the sustained, 10-year federal investment that on-the-ground providers and experts estimate is needed to help get those most in need off the street and into supportive, safe housing quickly and expand affordable housing stock for the long-term."
“No one should ever be without a place to call home, but there are far too many families in New York and across the country facing homelessness,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Access to safe and affordable housing should be a basic human right in the United States, and that’s why I’m proud to support the Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act. This bill would help end homelessness by investing in programs that would help people access shelters and safe and affordable housing. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation and help end the affordable housing crisis.”
The Pathway to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act consists of four provisons: two of which would help states and organizations on the ground get those experiencing homelessness into shelter quickly and efficiently, and two focused on expanding access to safe, affordable housing:
· $10 billion per year in additional funding for Emergency Solutions Grants;
· $10 billion per year in additional funding for Continuum of Care grants so organizations can move those experiencing homelessness into the shelter system and provided needed support services.
· $40 billion per year in direct appropriations to the Housing Trust Fund on top of the dedicated funding provided by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This level of investment will expand affordable rental housing stock, which will help to lower rents in the long-run.
· Fully funding tenant-based rental assistance (vouchers) to allow as many households as possible to get into permanent, safe, affordable housing.
The Pathways to Stable and Affordable Housing for All Act has the support of the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
“On behalf of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, I commend Senator Hirono for introducing legislation to invest resources at the scale necessary to help end homelessness and housing poverty, once and for all,” Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, said. “Through robust investments in the national Housing Trust Fund, housing vouchers, and homeless assistance grants, Senator Hirono’s bill addresses the underlying, systemic causes of the affordable housing and homelessness crisis: the widening gap between incomes and housing costs and severe shortage of homes affordable and available to the lowest-income people. We must build the political will to enact this important bill.”
“The National Alliance to End Homelessness is deeply grateful to Senator Hirono for introducing the Pathways to Stable and Affordable Housing For All Act, an important new bill that will address the critical need for more help for those in our nation who are struggling to keep roofs over their heads,” Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, said. “The Bill recognizes that homelessness results largely from the lack of affordable housing – while also acknowledging that until the national gap in affordable housing is filled, short-term assistance will be needed by people who have become homeless. It provides to-scale support for the most effective homeless programs, the Continuum of Care Program and the Emergency Solutions Grant Program. Similarly, it increases support for highly effective housing programs: the Housing Choice Voucher Program and the National Housing Trust Fund. The National Alliance to End Homelessness thanks the Senator for her leadership in meeting the needs of some of the nation’s most vulnerable people.”
In September 2019, the Trump Administration took aim at those experiencing homelessness in the US, releasing a report targeting a handful of states and cities and offering policy responses like increasing policing of this vulnerable community and rounding up and relocating homeless communities in an “out of sight, out of mind” approach. At the time, the president said that homeless individuals were taking over “our best highways and our best streets” and that “sick” homeless individuals were ruining US cities. On November 14, 2019, the executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness was ousted from the role he’s held since 2015.
On top of targeting those already experiencing homelessness, the Administration has repeatedly taken steps that would increase the number of families and individuals living in unstable housing situations and those at risk of homelessness. Every budget they have put forward zeros out critical programs aimed at alleviating homelessness and housing poverty. Congress has rejected these cuts, which would dismantle our current federal homelessness and affordable housing response framework and leave already-under resourced states, cities, and service providers with less tools to address homelessness and the affordable housing crisis.
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